'The San Antonio River Doesn't Start in San Antonio, It Now Starts in Burleson County': Stakeholder Perspectives on a Groundwater Transfer Project in Central Texas Academic Article uri icon


  • 2019, 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Water insecurity concerns drove San Antonio, Texas to pursue a controversial $3.4 billion groundwater transfer project from central Texas aquifers. The 228 km Vista Ridge Pipeline (VRP) would increase water supplies by 20%. Analysis through Q-Method revealed three social perspectives surrounding the VRP. Project Advocates offer particular views of urban water security, risk, and accountability. The creation of new hydro-social territories helps to explain Landowner Opposition, while Governance Failure offers a foundational criticism of the underlying assumptions and the institutional innovation of private-public partnership that advanced the VRP. Overall, our paper demonstrates that the VRP is differentiated according to views of risk, water law, and groundwater science. Policy deliberations on future urban water security should include these perspectives as a means to improve water governance, especially as policies and infrastructure for urban water security creates new hydro-social territories.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 8.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Beckner, S., Jepson, W., Brannstrom, C., & Tracy, J.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Beckner, Sydney||Jepson, Wendy||Brannstrom, Christian||Tracy, John

publication date

  • August 2019